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Series Preview: Nationals (9-22) at Brewers (21-10)

Wow: a team that's even worse than we are good!  Chad Cordero managed to blow a save last night, handing the Cubs their fourth straight and leaving us a mere five-game window of breathing room atop the Central.  Let's hope Cordero doesn't get to pitch this entire series.  Not that he's so scary anyhow.

Now seems as good a time as any to check in on BP's Postseason Odds Report.  The Brewers have a 61% chance at the postseason, projecting to 92 wins.  Those odds are second only to the Mets in the NL.  The Cubs figure to have a slightly better rest of the season, but we still project to beat them by a handy 3.5 games.  The Nats...well, their chances are less than half those of the Royals.  0.4% after last night's loss.  Ouch.

Here are your pitching matchups for the series:

I wonder, if you took a poll of "average" (say, non-blog reading, non-fantasy obsessed) baseball fans, how many of those starters they'd have heard of.  One?  Maybe two, since Simontacchi was a Cardinal a while back.  I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, it's just odd how utterly unknown these guys are.  You can't be much more obscure than a back of the rotation starter for the Nats or (until this year, anyway) the Brewers.

So, uh, the Nats are bad.  They are fourth worst in the NL in pitching (in a pitcher's park, no less) and worst in the league in hitting.  It doesn't help that their best offensive player (Nick Johnson) has been on the DL since the beginning of the season, and that their best pitcher (John Patterson) is headed for a spell on the shelf as well.  Somewhat remarkably, this 9-22 team is outperforming their pythagorean record.  They only "deserve" eight of those wins.  Next time you're tempted to complain about Counsellino, consider what the Nats have gotten from their left fielders: 153/254/220.  Really.  I am not making that up.  Frankly, I don't think I could make that up.  Wow.

For the rest of the story, I'll turn it over to the folks who actually follow the Nats:

Perhaps needless to say, we better get at least two wins out of this series.  I'm a teensy bit worried about tomorrow's game: not only have the Brewers not seen Simontacchi in years, this is his first major league start since '04.  In other words, there's no advance scouting whatsoever.  Then again, while I'm worried, we could score eight runs off the guy in three innings.  Anything's possible.  It would certainly be nice to get the sweep, not only to cap a tremendous stretch at home, but because the Cubs just did it.  And, you know, anything they can do, we can do better.